Selfish in Summit (letter)
Hurried New Yorkers, overextended in every direction, are notoriously rude. But, for 18 years, my wife and I have been summering in our modest unit in Breckenridge in part to escape the explainable bad manners of ultra-busy New Yorkers. This year, however, we’ve observed a difference in the usual pleasant, friendly, laid-back behavior of the people who reside in and visit Summit County and its neighboring communities.
Here are some examples:
1. I remember having to get used to stopping for pedestrians at designated yellow signs indicating pedestrian crosswalks while I was driving in Colorado, even when they are not at the signs. This summer, we have noticed vehicles zooming past such signs while walkers are readying to cross. The vehicles, as often as not, bear Colorado license plates.
2. Bikers riding on shared paths rarely warn walkers. We are walkers and bikers as well. When we first rode in Breckenridge, people at the bike shops from which we rented taught us how to be polite on the paths. Bikers are also speeding down the sidewalk on Ski Hill Road. My wife and 5-year-old grandson were nearly hit by a disrespectful biker who chose the sidewalk and not the street to exercise his ability to ride fast — without warning.
I learned from Breck police that bikers are indeed allowed to use both the sidewalk and/or the street for riding. When I lodged a complaint about the speeds and bad manners of the bikers using the sidewalks, the response I got was, “We can’t fine people for not being cordial.” I guess nothing will be done (like a sign demanding that sidewalk riders exercise caution) until there is a collision between walker and careless biker, which results in serious injury.
3. In shops and at fairs on several occasions while we were undergoing transactions, people interrupted as though we were invisible. In one shop while I was examining a sweatshirt for possible purchase, my hands actually on the garment, a man pulled it from the rack out of my hands. When he realized I had been touching it, he did not even offer an apology.
4. At a guitar festival at Copper Mountain, my wife and I chose to sit behind the sole audience member who preferred standing during the performances — obstructing not only our view, but also the views of several others. When my wife gently asked him if would sit, he answered, “You should have come earlier,” implying that had we done that we could have gotten a better seat. The woman next to him (his wife, we assume) told him, after he finally decided to sit, “You can stand if you want to,” which placed her rudeness in the same class as his, or perhaps a class higher. Her audible comment caused numerous surrounding eyebrows to rise as did her husband’s refusal to be respectful to those seated behind him.
I think all people have occasional accidental breaches of decent behavior, but good people make amends. The behaviors we have observed in Summit this summer are selfish and inconsiderate of others. I suppose they are something we will always have to tolerate. This behaviors are, as I have been advised, not against the law.
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